[Ranch style houses and Gothic architecture]

Saturday, October 16, 1954

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

Seldes opens with a reference to the Mario Lanza scandal. Lanza, a well known singer, was paid $40,000 to perform on a television show and it was apparent that the sound track was pre-recorded. The network first denied that the performance was not live, but it eventually emerged that the recording was years old. Seldes discusses this scandal and gives him opinion on the sanctity of live shows.

He goes on to discuss "The Green Curtain" - a film set in a jungle but most likely filmed on a sound stage. This is an example of the value of non-live programming. He does not like any show that pretends to be spontaneous.

Seldes discusses "high brow" taste and the views of Leonard Lyons. He notes that he passionately hates Ranch-style houses - the most popular architecture in the United States. He notes that his house is Gothic and extraordinarily beautiful.

Finally he talks about virtue.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 71492
Municipal archives id: LT3113

Hosted by:

Gilbert Seldes


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About Lively Arts, The

Legendary critic and author of The Seven Lively Arts Gilbert Seldes discusses big-thinking issues in art and life from his characteristically populist perspective.

Simultaneously a timely and visionary program, Gilbert Seldes's The Lively Arts (1953-1956) examines contemporary issues of 1950s television, radio, and theater, as well as current events and the intellectual arts. Seldes, who was the first Director for Television at CBS News and the founding Dean of the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Pennsylvania, was also a renowned critic, author, playwright, and editor. As a major social critic and observer, Seldes viewed theater, television, and radio with a prescient eye to the future based on a well-informed understanding of the past. 

These programs feature commentary and discussion on a wide range of topics — from sex and censorship in the movies to progressive education to juvenile delinquency to political campaigning on television — many of which are still hotly debated today. Serving as a precursor to Seldes's television programs and providing an audio context for his seminal books, this show is key to understanding today's cultural commentary.


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